With its centennial coming up this December, Redmond's history is on the minds of many people who plan the city's events and projects.
John Fleming, the Seattle artist comissioned to design much of the artwork on the new Redmond Central Connector, is no different, but his concept of local history goes a bit beyond logging trucks and bicycle races. The main art piece along the linear park will be a massive rock-filled mound representing the glacier-formed boulders that the most recent ice age left behind several thousands years ago.
"I wanted to do something about this history of Redmond, but I went way back in time," Fleming said.
On Thursday, approximately 100 people joined Fleming, Mayor John Marchione, and others involved in the central connector project to walk the path of the future trail and learn more about the types of art that will punctuate its 3.9-miles. The event, dubbed a "walk and talk," was hosted by Feet First, a nonprofit that promotes walkable communities in Washington state.
The Redmond Central Connector—part walking and biking trail, part linear park—will run through downtown Redmond along what was once a spur of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. Construction on the first phase of the project, a one-mile segment between the Bear Creek Trail and Sammamish River Trail that's projected to cost $3.9 million, is expected to begin in late summer or early fall and could wrap up as soon as next spring.
Eventually, city officials plan for the central connector to run alongside Sound Transit's East Link light rail line and connect with the light rail station in downtown Redmond.
Public art has long been a major feature of the . Officials hope the trail will encourage more people to get out of their cars and walk to downtown shops and restaurants—and eventually attract more businesses.
"The key word is 'connections,'" Mayor Marchione said. "We're counting on making downtown Redmond a bit more of a destination."
Various pieces of artwork along the trail will certainly give visitors something new and interesting to check out downtown. Fleming's main piece—a trianglular-shaped mound representing a glacier-formed boulder—will be filled with crushed rock and covered in thousands of metal squares collected from the old railroad line.
The piece will measure 15 feet high at its tallest point and 44 feet wide on its longest edge.
"So it's not as big as a house, but it's a pretty good size," Fleming said with a chuckle.
Two of Fleming's art collections—one of which includes pieces made from recycled transportation signs—are currently on display in a vacant space below the . (Those who wish to view the exhibit can visit the building's main lobby for access to the space.) An accompanying exhibit will also be at through the end of October.